Ours in the USA: how to move to California, start everything from scratch and start your business
We must dream, because dreams come true, says Igor Gonebny. Three years ago, he and his wife and daughter came to the United States with a dream to work in Silicon Valley. Today he is the founder and president of a startup, and his smartphone app has over a million users. This is his American story, which he tells “Voice of America".
The family itself from Krasnoyarsk. 15 years ago, Igor and Olga needed to move to Moscow for her husband's work. Igor was associated with IT development, and the entire leadership was located in the United States.
“I had two working days: one was local time, and the other was American time. If during the day I was engaged in IT development, then in the evening or at night I sat down at Skype or phone and contacted partners in New York and California, "Igor recalls.
Moving to America from the Honbal family was a dream to which they had been walking for a long time.
“Our first experience with America was in 2011. I managed to get here on a student experience exchange program. Then I realized that I want to live here, - Igor recalls. - I was amazed at the opportunities that she opened up. I was amazed by that lifestyle. "
Since then, over a long period of time, the family has been looking for different options. For five years in a row, we played a lottery green card, and finally, in 2014, we won it. Due to the fact that at the time of winning Igor's son was more than 18 years old, he did not fall under the scope of the visa and stayed in Moscow. However, the family managed to take the youngest child - Alain - and go to the States.
The first question that arose in the pair: "Which state to go?". We decided to go to California - the center of innovation. In addition, all of Igor’s partners were located in California.
“We decided to go to the city of Mountain View, which is located in the very center of Silicon Valley, 50 miles from San Francisco. Most of the world's technology companies are located in this area, such as Apple, Google, Intel, - says Igor.
Upon arrival, everything was completely different. They thought that they would come, find a job, be engaged in projects and enjoy life.
“At first, I was disoriented in everything,” Olga recalls. “You don’t understand what, how, where, when. You have to start all over again, and you do not know how to continue to be, and what to do with it. "
From the very beginning, Igor, who was the leader in Moscow, had to start. He decided to do what he had always dreamed of - to create and build something on his own. Igor did it. Now he is developing his project and building his company.
“When we moved to America, my son stayed in Moscow. Despite being an adult guy, it was important for me to know where he is. Considering the big difference in time, I could not always know whether he went to the university or went somewhere else. This is how my project was born. Geozila - a mobile application, thanks to which I understand perfectly where my son or my wife is, whether they are all right. It turned out that this problem worries not only me, but millions of families around the world. We started to solve such a huge problem, ”says Igor.
For two years, Igor has been working on the same platform - Geozila. He assembled a strong team of 12 people. Work has 24 / 7 without vacation, 365 days per year. Igor understands that this is a normal way of life for a startup and there is no other way.
He managed to find investors from the UK, Europe and the United States and to develop the project.
“The meeting starts in the morning and ends at 12 at night. Constant calls. But there is also a result: the number of users is increasing by 5% every month, ”says Igor.
For him, the reviews about the platform are also invaluable, in which people write how the platform helped someone to find, save or other stories.
In addition, Igor works on a voluntary basis in Googlewhere there is an accelerator for startups that they bring from 15 countries of the world to the USA. For two weeks they communicate in person with them, and six months - remotely in terms of building their business, strategies, product and everything.
Such sessions with startups take place three times a year. For two weeks, Igor disappears from home, because this is an incredible exchange of experience.
There is no getting away from teaching
Olga worked 9 years as an associate professor at the Moscow Financial and Law University in Moscow. At the department led the computer graphics.
“I have always liked working at the university. You see progressive youth. You always feel it, - says Olga. “Nobody canceled problems with the language, so I knew that even if I learned the language, I would not be able to work in my specialty.”
After Olga posted her resume, she was accepted into the Russian School of Mathematics. She teaches classes in English, since children of different nationalities go to school. The peculiarity of the school is that classes are held according to the Russian mathematical methodology.
When the family arrived in America, Alena was 5 years old. Olga and Igor were worried about how she adapted to the school, but they were lucky with the first teacher, who even tried to explain with gestures to Alena. Literally two weeks later, the girl began to understand.
“Only here I saw that the children were asking to go to school from the holidays,” says Igor. - How much they are involved in the process itself. They are constantly changing places, tables are lined up in a circle so that the children are in groups. The composition of the classes is constantly "mixed" so that the children can build contacts. "
After moving Alenka hit the dance studio. “She is happy to go to different classes and twice a year she performs at a concert,” says Olga.
The family rejoices in the surrounding nature, so when choosing a place they decided to stop in the Valley.
“Most of all in America we have been surprised and still amazed by the openness and attitude towards you. You walk down the street, and strangers smile and greet you, - says Igor. - We come to school, and they shout to us with open arms: “Welcome!”.
The couple noticed a special and reverent attitude to children everywhere.
After the move, Igor and Olga met with the Russian-speaking people, who happily share their experiences. In California, according to Igor, there are no locals at all. At the school where Alen studies, they counted 25 nationalities. Despite this, everyone is very friendly and talking on equal terms, regardless of whether it’s a millionaire or just a worker.
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